PBS Online Film Festival

S2020 E3 | FULL EPISODE

In This Family

Ten years after being outed by his teacher, a gay man revisits raw audio recordings of his Filipino family's reactions.

AIRED: July 13, 2020 | 0:12:22
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TRANSCRIPT

- Hello, I am Marcus Del Rosario of 7-Campion

from the Ateneo Grade School.

I will sing Breaking Free

because I find the song very expressive

and I really like it.

(piano music)

Oh my god.

Yeah, okay, I'm gonna go pause that

because I don't want anyone's ears to be broken.

I think I convinced myself that I could sing back then

and now I realize that I can't.

But yeah.

I enjoyed singing back then.

I just love the feeling of being on a stage

and my classmates seeing me dance

and wear these elaborate costumes.

(gentle music)

When I grow up, I hope to be very successful.

I want to be a singer, actor,

or any career exposed to the arts.

I want to be able to express myself

through my talents and to share them.

That was from an essay

that I wrote in 7th grade 10 years ago.

My parents are not so supportive of me being a performer.

I have parents who are strict Filipino Catholics

and I have an older sister.

They always want me to be a doctor.

Performing was not an option for them.

I think the fear of every theater kid

is that their teacher would say

your son's grade are starting to dip low.

It's time to take him out of the theater club.

September three, 2007 is the day

of our 7th grade parent teacher conference.

I'm waiting outside the classroom

where the parent teacher conference is being held.

My teacher is inside, my parents are inside.

My parents stand up, they leave the classroom.

Everything's fine.

Everything's fine.

The car ride home was...

quiet.

But my dad is driving unusually fast.

My mom speaks and she says...

your teacher told us that you're gay.

Is it true?

(mysterious music)

Days before the parent teacher conference,

we were having a 7th grade swimming competition.

And my teacher pulls me to the side and asks,

Marcus, are you gay?

And I say yes, but I beg her,

please don't tell my parents because I...

I'm just not ready to tell them.

And my teacher...

says okay, I won't tell them.

I don't know why she changed her mind.

Your teacher told us that you're gay, is it true?

Yes, I say.

"Yes, you're gay?" My mom says.

Yes, I reconfirm.

And then we are just quiet

for the rest of the ride until we get home.

- [Father] It's either you're a boy or a girl.

(speaking in foreign language)

- [Marcus] In my opinion,

if you're born straight, you're straight.

If you're born gay, you're gay.

(father speaking in foreign language)

- [Marcus] Well, it is.

(parents speaking in foreign language)

- There were mornings when I would wake up

and my dad is just punching me.

I would kick him back.

One time he slapped me right outside our house

where all the neighbors could see.

When things get physical in our house,

it was in a way okay

because I would still have my theater club

and I just had a happy place.

Days later, I go to one of our theater rehearsals.

And my director calls everyone into the auditorium

and he says,

we received a letter from a parent

complaining that the theater club

is turning students gay.

Everyone is just silent.

And then he says, this is not true

because the theater club is not turning students gay.

The gays are in the school choir.

Just like that,

I feel like I could not be myself anymore in school.

I mean, you kinda get used to waking up every morning

feeling that you have no one to talk to.

And then one day.

(door knocking)

Someone knocks on my bedroom door.

The door opens and it's my sister.

She's crying.

She goes up to me

and she says dad rummaged through my stuff

and found the letter.

It's a love letter from a girl.

I just, I couldn't.

I just hug her.

And...

we just stay quiet.

I would go to her room everyday and we would watch Glee,

Pretty Little Liars, Rent, America's Next Top Model.

Basically anything that has a gay character in it.

But then one day, I walk into my parent's room

and I see my dad watching Glee.

And I think to myself, oh, no, why is he doing this?

Why is he watching Glee?

Days later, I come home

and my dad is rummaging through my stuff.

(gentle music)

And just think, oh, I have fashion sketches

in that closet.

But then he just looks at me and says,

oh, and by the way, your sketches fell

but I just stacked them together neatly

and put them on your bed.

And then my dad leaves.

And then I look on my bed

and it's the fashion sketches.

And they're neatly stacked.

I think this is the moment when I finally felt

okay, my dad is actually learning something from Glee.

Oh my god.

I mean, did I really go through all of this

over the past 10 years?

Today I don't have that much of a passion

for performing anymore.

I mean, I've come to realize that I cannot sing.

But my mother and I have a YouTube show

where we can just be open and be honest with each other

and my dad actually helps behind the scenes.

And it feels good.

It feels like I can finally breathe comfortably.

My sister is still in a relationship with that girl

from the love letter and it's just the cutest thing eve.

I don't know what's up with my 7th grade teacher now.

I'd like to think that she outed me because of concern.

I mean, I could hate her.

But it's just so much easier...

to forgive and to smile.

I wish her the best.

Genuinely.

This entire thing of me coming out is not just me.

Our entire family went through that.

And I am proud of myself

but I think I am prouder of my parents because...

Oh my god, I'm gonna cry.

As a child...

to see your parents grow is just...

an amazing thing.

Hello.

- How are you?

(speaking in foreign language)

- Okay, how are you?

How's the Philippines now?

- Still the same.

(speaking in foreign language)

- Bye. - Okay, bye, love you.

- [Father] Bye.

- [Marcus] Bye.

(speaking in foreign language)

- Yeah, okay, bye, love you.

Why are you crying?

(Marcus laughs)

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